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post #1 of 3 Old 07-13-2015, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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Woodworms

I am in need of some advice, hopefully from someone who has survived this nightmare.

I am a hobbyist woodworker & antique refinisher. When I am not building something from scratch I like being able to take an antique that is inches away from death and fully restore & refinish it using period appropriate finishes every time. Real diamond in a rough type stuff.

About 3-4 months ago I bought an antique piece of furniture and carried it out of a barn where it had been sitting for maybe 40+ years. It needed a complete restoration. It had veneer lifting, the finish was shot, water damage along the bottom.

I took it home, put it in my garage, and spent the next 3 months stripping it, rebuilding it, and refinishing it. After I got the destroyed finish off, I found what I hoped was an INACTIVE woodworm infestation. I don't know the species. I am located in the North Eastern US but who knows what the item's history is.

To be doubly sure the infestation was old news I soaked the entire thing multiple times in Timbor. Its water soluble so I used an oil based grain filler and lacquer over it, hoping to seal in the pesticide.

I then thought the project was over, so it sat in the garage. A week or two ago I realized I should plug all the old holes to make sure the infestation was over. After all, how do you be really sure a hole was there or not if there are dozens of them and they all look alike?

Well I found a couple new holes but wasn't sure if my woodglue plugs simply fell out. Then yesterday I found a hole that was DEFINITELY new as there was a ring of chewed up wood & bug feces around it, similar to what you'd get if you drilled into a piece of wood and pulled the drill bit out leaving the pile of sawdust around the hole.

I promptly sealed it up with thick industrial plastic & duct tape and am waiting for an exterminator to tell me what to do.

What I am worried about is what happened to those beetles after they chewed their way out of the wood. Did they just fly away or did they immediately infest everything around them? How would I know?

Do they only go after water damaged wood or do they target whatever bare wood they encounter?

The rafters in the garage are exposed, would they immediately start infesting them?

They're flying insects so maybe they're always out there at night flying around outside and we only notice them when they by chance start chewing on something indoors.

I have nearly a thousand board feet of 4/4 african mahogany, 200 bf of black walnut, and a work bench I inherited from a relative (made out of old growth pine & californian red wood) that I care greatly about.

I haven't slept well in days.
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post #2 of 3 Old 07-13-2015, 06:40 PM
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From my experience, and mine only, you need to get the infected piece out of your shop.

I have had infestations in my shop before, but I have never had them move to new stock. Powder post have a tendency to lay their eggs in the exit hole, and re-infest the same piece.

That being said, they will move form piece to piece, but favor pieces that have cracks, knots or crevasses to lay eggs in. They are also prone to high starch hardwoods(maple,cherry, etc), but will eat damn near anything.

The last time I had an issue, I grabbed anything with an exit hole in it, and burned it. Since then, no issues, but anytime I find anything with any evidence of bug infestation, I steer clear, or if it does get into my shop, it takes the express route to the fire pit.

Simon
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post #3 of 3 Old 07-13-2015, 07:25 PM
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They do tend to go after the same wood they came from. Anything that chewed through the Timbor application isn't likely to last long, though. That's how it works. Bugs ingest it on the way out of the wood and die shortly after.

To be on the safe side, I'd definitely keep it out of the shop, but I think you will probably be alright. A few poisoned escapees aren't likely to become the powderpost Adam and Eve.

I've been through a similar experience. I know the sleepless nights and horrific images of a nocturnal rainforest of bugs in my shop. It's not as bad as you think. Get some rest.

Rob
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